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Strength of the Sword 3 Review

Strength of the Sword 3 Review

The popularity of indie titles has grown rather a lot in the past few years, as developers have started doing the very things we wish other larger companies would do. They bring originality, add a sense of nostalgia, and even tell a deep story from time to time. Sadly, Strength of the Sword 3 struggles in a few of these areas and ends up being a title that feels incomplete and frustrating to play.

Despite its title, Strength of the Sword 3 is the first of the series. It's a silly joke you occasionally see in other indie titles such as Breath of Death VII. The story tells a tale via a pop-up map of a kingdom invaded by evil forces. To save the kingdom from ruin, a deity sends you, a mechanical warrior, to fend off the invaders and defeat their leader. It's a pretty straight forward plot, probably due to the fact the game's focus is supposed to be the gameplay. Sadly, that's what drags this game down.

Initial impressions bore a strong comparison with the gameplay from Dark Souls. There are noticeable pauses in-between your character's attacks, and each enemy needs to be confronted differently. But unlike Dark Souls, the combat only holds frustration and lacks reward.

The poor combat tutorials don't help the experience much either. While the game encourages you to block, dodge, and attack, it never mentions how to actually play the game. You have to pause the game to actually see a list of moves. While the list is pretty straight forward, some of the combos never seemed to work properly or do a decent amount of damage. It will take a few hours until you start to feel competent.

Also during gameplay, there will be slow downs from time to time when you are hit or thrown back. It's meant to be dramatic, but the slow motion often lasts too long and gets old very fast.

Once you beat a level, you'll be graded according to my play-style. The three styles are Speed, Offense, and Defense. If you played well enough in either of the styles, you receive one of three stars. It's a nice incentive to replay the levels, but only if you actually enjoyed the combat.

It won't be long until you realize that each level for the entire story mode is nothing more than a single room decorated with backdrops, crates, and the occasional set of steps. To make matters worse, each level is simply fighting wave after wave of enemies in said room until you defeat them all. Were it not for the occasional cut-scenes of the pop-up map, it would seem like a few challenge maps that were put together for a high score.

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